Catholic Syrian Bank (CSB), a Kerala-based privately-held bank, has appointed V.P. Iswardas as managing director and CEO. Mr Iswardas will succeed the current CEO R. Venkataraman, whose term ended earlier this year. He will be taking charge of the bank from tomorrow and his appointment is for a period of three years, VCCircle has learned.

When contacted for comments, Mr Iswardas was not available as he was engaged in the bank’s board meeting. Iswardas, who has over 33 years experience, was working as Chief General Manager of CSB since April 2007. CSB had an income of Rs 656 crore and a net profit of Rs 37 crore in FY09 and has a branch network of 363.

The appointment of Mr Iswardas comes as the merger talks of CSB with Federal Bank seem to have hit a snag. Federal Bank, which owns a 5% stake in CSB, said, in September, it started financial due diligence of the latter for a merger. But, the takeover attempts have been opposed by the Roman Catholic Church, which wants the Thrissur-based bank to stay in the community.

Earlier this month, the church said, it has lined up investors who are willing to invest in CSB at a higher valuation than Federal Bank. 

Federal Bank has been courting CSB for over a year since it bought a 5% stake from the Chawlas, an NRI family, which still owns well over 25% and is the single largest shareholder in the bank. Three private equity funds - AIF Capital, Gartmore and Siguler Guff - hold a total of 14% stake in CSB.

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